Inspiration

Tope Awotona: The Pain Before Fame

Having become a billionaire, Tope Awotona’s name has become quite popular. While the media is awash with his name and his face, very few people know the pain behind the smile. Most people are not interested in his years of struggle, or all his years of failing from one venture to another.

Tope Awotona has survived many harrowing experiences life has thrown at him; and now by sheer determination he has grabbed the world’s attention and respect; having created something of value to both the individual and the corporate world.

Tope Awotona is a billionaire; an entrepreneur, an employer of labour, and beacon of hope to whom other people look for inspiration. But it was not always like that; read about his life before fame; the part you don’t see in the magazines.

Tope Awotona’s Struggle Before Fame

He was born in Lagos, Nigeria to middle class parents.  When he was 12, his father was shot and killed right in front of his eyes, in a carjacking. This harrowing scene would haunt him for the rest of his life; it was no doubt one of the reasons why his family decided to leave Nigeria.

At 15 years old he moved with his family to Atlanta, USA. Arriving in the land of opportunity opened new doors, but also presented various challenges.

Career Failures And Other Challenges 

After studying computer science and business management at the University of Georgia, he became a software salesman, working for tech companies such as Perceptive Software, Vertafore and EMC which later became Dell EMC.

Tope Awotona failed at several ventures; he sold projectors to individuals and to organizations. Another unsuccessful business venture was that of selling garden tools.

He started Calendly with his own personal funds; and moved the business along for years in the same way. A challenge that he experienced was getting funding; many people of color have had similar challenges, but rather than be stopped by this problem, he kept fighting until he succeeded.

Success And Lime Light

After years of personally financing the project he secured a $350 million investment in 2021 thus empowering him to properly commercialize the product and services. That made Calendly an instant success; valuing the company at $3 billion.

Calendly is a software program that helps people and organizations properly plan their affairs. It helps schedule meetings, appointments, and events, and can synchronize the events of several users within an organization.

The company headquarters is Atlanta Georgia, and the company employs about 424 people. Most of the company’s employees now work remotely, following the discontinuation of physical operations.

At the early stages of the company, the services were actually offered for free, but premium services were offered around 2014. Calendly actually became popular on twitter, when a twitter user decried the use of such a service. Many people responding to the tweet; saying that the service was useful. The company reported a large number of signups after that, and since then it has continued to lead the market.

Lessons Learned From Tope Awotona

The experience of Tope Awotona shows that a person can achieve greatness if he sticks to the vision. It is important to note that he experienced several failures before eventually becoming successful; it is futile to expect success without any failures or difficulties.

Further Reading: The Richest Black Men In the World

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